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Pregame interview with Charlie Manuel

Pregame interview with Charlie Manuel

Charlie, first of all, my condolences, but how hard has this been for the last few days in dealing with everything?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically, I thought the other day when the game started, and I was -- I got really focused on the game and everything like that, I think it was kind of -- it was okay. It was fine. I mean, I got caught up in the game and everything kind of for, what, a couple hours or two or three hours, I was just totally involved in the game. And I felt like I was pretty good.

I like being by myself a lot of times, and I think any time right now, any time that I can get away, I feel better that way. But we've got things to do. And I feel like that I know my mother would want me definitely in the dugout, because she used to manage a lot for me anyway. And I guess kind of like everybody else, but I feel very comfortable. I feel good. I feel like we've got some work to do.
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Following up, and you have spoken a lot about how she'll help you manage, when you're thinking about it, what great things did she tell you that you actually did follow or didn't follow?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Most of those things she'd tell me how to play baseball or something like that. I never listened to her anyway, but I'd just say, 'Yeah, Ma, whatever.' And the fact she would always call me, and she'd tell me things like, 'You go tell those guys that I said I'm praying for them, and I want them to bear down and really get after it.' And I used to say, 'Yeah, Mom, I'll be sure to tell them, okay.'

And also sometimes I might get a little upset I'd say, 'One of these days I'm going to bring you up here, and let you tell them.'

But she called me about four, five times a week. She's been actually about the last -- I'd say about the last eight or 10 years, she's always made a point to call me quite a bit.

Times like this, the things that sort of go by the wayside are rest and eating, and it becomes a blur. What's your life been like personally away from the field over the past two or three days? Are you getting any sleep? Are you constantly on the phone?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Actually, I feel like I've been getting enough sleep. And the phone, like I think of people that's concerned about me and are concerned about my family and stuff, like I've been getting a lot of calls. And I understand that. But at the same time, if anything is annoying I'd say is that because I've been getting a lot of them. I get a lot of messages. I guess that's what you gotta go through when you have a cell phone.

But at the same time, I'd say that's the big thing. Seems like every time I sit down the phone rings. Every time I get up the phone rings. But that's kind of what you gotta adjust to. And it's okay. But the rest of the part I guess is fine.

Did you give any thought to not managing the game?

CHARLIE MANUEL: No, not at all.

Why not?

CHARLIE MANUEL: My mom and I are very close. I know that she would definitely want me to finish the season, if possible. Like there's no way I'd miss her funeral, but at the same time, like, hopefully, this is going to work out. But at the same time, like, I never thought about not managing a game or our team, because we've come this far, and like, I just want to be there.

Has this been particularly difficult just having a public spotlight on what is your own private life as opposed to the baseball stuff?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, you know, I think, I guess, it's where I'm at and the circumstances and things. Like it's natural, I guess, for people to talk about it and things. But if I had it my way, no, no one would -- I don't think nobody would ever, you know, have to really -- I don't know. I think in some ways if it would be good for my mother it would be fine. But other ways, too, that was always private with me.

Along those lines, Charlie, you were a player, and I'm sure there were situations like this when you were a player. How much were you concerned about what, if any, effect it would have on your players, and what's your take on how your team has responded?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think, first of all, I think this is something like that you've got to deal with, and it's all part of life. And I think that you have to definitely be strong and find a way to get through.

And also, I don't want this to be a distraction to our team. But I feel like the type of players that we have, and knowing them like I do and their attitude and the way they like to play baseball and the things that happen, I think -- I don't think nothing's going to get in their way. I think they're going to go out and play just as hard as they possibly can. And I think that's all I can ask.

Could you please just talk about Blanton, what you kind of learned about him that you didn't know once he started pitching for you?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I felt like I didn't know a whole lot about Joe Blanton until, like, I seen him pitch twice against us in the early play. This year he pitched against us, he did a good job. A year before, two years ago -- actually, I think it was three years ago, really, first time I saw him. And he pitched good against us. As far as good, like stuff-wise, I didn't think -- I was just kind of, 'He's okay.'

When he came over here to us, he got a couple of games where he got out slow and he didn't have what you call good command and his velocity wasn't as good or it could be better.

Then all of a sudden he pitched a couple of games, he pitched one against Pittsburgh and one against St. Louis. And against St. Louis he was very, very good and he had a good pop on his fastball, had good command, low in the strike zone, and he had command of his breaking ball.

Then over in Milwaukee I felt it was definitely his best game because he was very aggressive and he threw strikes and he stayed after the hitter and he definitely followed his game plan and he was very good.

And since he's been here in Philadelphia, I can definitely say that he's gutty and he's kind of a bulldog on the mound. And I like that part about him.

Derek Lowe will be going on short rest. Is that an advantage for you guys, or do you think it's the same matchup as it was the first time around?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think Derek Lowe, I've seen him when he first came to the big leagues, the American League, I've seen him a long time. And I think the short rest will not bother him at all. He's a veteran that loves to take the ball. I've seen him start and come in two days later in relief. I've seen him do all kinds of stuff, especially in post season.

And I think he'll be the same pitcher that you saw the other day.

Ryan Howard obviously had a good September for you guys. In the playoffs he's kind of slowed down. Have you seen any regressing back to any bad habits?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Right now, if you guys have seen him, he's trying hard. He's overanxious. He's not following the ball, he's not seeing the ball good out of the pitchers' hand, and he's not getting good balls to hit. He slows down a little bit and patient, and he'll be okay. And you never know, today he might really get it going. It's just a matter of time.

I know we've asked you this a bunch of times, but with Derek Lowe coming back on short rest, any thought of Cole [Hamels] coming back on short rest and, if not, why not?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Right now when you look at the way we've got our pitching set up, Blanton will throw. He'll throw tomorrow and Cole will throw Wednesday. And that's kind of where we've got it set. And for him, if he starts to come back early, haven't really thought about that because that's been way early and that's way down the line. I'm a one-day -- one-game-at-a-time guy. And that's what we're doing today.

Back to Ryan Howard. You said he was trying hard and a little overanxious. Is that strictly because of the situation it's the playoffs and he's trying to gear up for it and you feel like he can get out of that because of the situation?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think basically, maybe a little of both, but at the same time I think the fact that he wants to do good. He wants us to win. And, like, all that comes into play.

He gets good ball to hit and hits the ball hard, he'll be fine. I think he'll come back and say, All right, I'm okay. Everything's all right.

And it's just a matter of time that the pitcher gives him something good to hit, and he'll be -- just a matter of time, he'll be relaxed enough to be looking for it.

Manny [Ramirez]'s numbers obviously are fairly ridiculous against every pitcher, but especially against Jamie Moyer. Have you talked to Jamie about how to approach Manny, or are you particularly worried about that matchup?

CHARLIE MANUEL: We talked a little bit about it. I didn't have to say too much. I think Jamie knows. And I think he looks at Manny probably the same way that he does anybody else that has a good success off of him. If he makes his pitches, he's putting his ball where he wants to, like that's what he does, I think he'll be okay. If he makes mistakes and he gets balls in the middle of the plate or something, Manny has a good chance of hitting him. I think that's how he looks at it. And that's how I look at it.

Specifically about Howard, I mean, Lowe threw him I think strictly sliders and [Chad] Billingsley was just throwing curveball after curveball to him. Knowing that's how they're approaching him, is there any way mid series you can work with him to kind of adjust his approach?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically, like, it's just like any other game, as far as that goes, if it's the start of the season, middle of the season or end of the season or playoffs or whatever.

Like when they're throwing him like that, he's got to be patient enough to stand there and get a good ball to hit. And like it's just a matter of time until he starts seeing the ball. Definitely he's not falling the ball good and I look at him sometimes looks like he's anxious and he wants to swing. Slow down. Slow down. I mean, slow down. Follow the ball. See the ball.

He hits streaks like that. But at the same time, like, he's also capable of coming out there today and like hitting two or three balls very hard. So it's kind of what it is. But he definitely has to change some things, and that's the adjustment he's got to make, is see the ball.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
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{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }
{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }